Have niggling neck and body pain? These 8 easy desk exercises will help

A desk job may sound less strenuous, as it doesn’t demand much physical movement. Lying down in a chair, while working, may help you preserve some energy, but prolonged sitting aggravates your health and makes you prone to obesity, heart diseases, diabetes and even cancer.

Hunching on your desk, bending your neck while using your phone, leaning on keyboard while typing and slouching are some of the common habits leading to chronic orthopaedic conditions including body stiffness, and perennial ache in your back and neck.

So how can you avoid that niggling neck and body pain, frequent sense of fatigue and tiredness especially when options like gym, yoga, swimming among other physical activities don’t fit well in your work routine?

Desk exercices can help. Here are some easy-to-perform desk exercises you can do without grabbing eyeballs at your workspace:

Sitting at an angle: A good posture helps improve your blood flow, keeps your bones, and joints in optimal alignment and reduces chances of wear and tear on supportive structures. Therefore, it’s crucial to know if you’re sitting in the correct posture –– sitting straight with your hips, knees, and ankles at a 90° angle. This will help strengthen your core muscles, support your back, and give you a flat stomach.

Now, if you’re waiting for your document to download, a web page to reload or your team to respond to the mail you have just sent, use those few minutes for these exercises:

1. Chest stretch:

  • Sit towards your chair’s edge.

  • Interlock your fingers behind you, with both palms facing your back.

  • Slowly lean forward, lifting your arms to feel the stretch in your chest.

  • Inhale slowly, lifting your chest.

  • Exhale and relax your shoulders away from your ears.

  • Gently release your hands and return them to your sides.

  • Note: Hold each stretch for 10 to 15 breaths.

2. Neck Stretch:

  • Sit erect without any back support.

  • Gently drop your right ear towards your right shoulder without lifting your right shoulder or turning your head.

  • Now, take your right hand over your head and place it on the left side of your face.

  • Hold the position and then release your hand and straighten your neck, slowly massaging your neck and shoulders with your left hand.

  • Repeat the same on your left side.

  • Note: Hold each stretch for 10 to 15 breaths.

3. Football-like-foot drill:

  • While sitting, tap your feet rapidly for a minute.

  • Raise your hand up in a pumping motion as if you are trying to lift the roof.

4. Up & Up:

  • Stretch both arms over your head and reach for the sky.

  • After 10 seconds, extend the right hand higher and then left.

5. Dodging:

  • Sit facing forward, then turn your head to the left and your torso to the right and hold a few seconds.

  • Repeat 15 times, switching sides.

6. Stress off shoulders:

  • Sitting erect, try to touch your shoulder blades together. Hold, and then relax.

7. Leg stretch:

  • While sitting straight, lift your leg turn by turn and extend it out straight for 2 seconds.

  • Note: Stretch each leg 15 times.

8. Foot-press

  • Sitting up straight, press each foot turn by turn into the floor.

  • Hold for five counts.

  • Note: Do a minimum of 5-7 reps.

Remember not to overdo any exercise out of excitement. If you’re habitual of prolonged sitting, not taking breaks, try setting a reminder on your phone.

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